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PARIS RESTAURANT HELP FOR AN OVERWHELMED FOODIE WITH ONLY 2 DAYS IN PARIS

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Hi there.
Will be traveling in Europe and have only 2 1/2 days in Paris and want to make the best restaurant choices possible but all the fabulous restaurants and info out there I am finding it truly difficult to narrow down my list. My husband has never been to Paris and I haven't been since college 10 years ago when my food choices were not as important! Here is a list of the restaurants on my radar based on recommendations from friends and research. Narrowing these down has been a bit overwhelming and any help would be greatly appreciated. We are staying in the 7th but would travel anywhere in Paris for a good meal:

Chez L'ami Jean
Le Regalade
Le Cigale Recamier
Le Comptoir du Relais
La Cordonnerie
Josephine Chez Dumont
Le Villaret
L'Avant Gout
Le Chateaubrian

Many many thanks!

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  1. I should also add that we will be at the ocean in Ile de Re for 3 days before arriving to Paris so will be eating a seafood/fish heavy diet there, which is why I left of Le Cagouille!

    1. Unfortunately for most of us here, we get asked this question almost every day. Your list loks fine except for Vilaret which is inconsistent and Regalade where Doucet is primarily cooking at the St H location.
      I'd recommend you consult prior threads and get a sense of the writer's preferences - Soup, Parigi, vielleanglaise, PhilD, mangeur, Oakglen, Laidback, deananddeluca, who have offended by leaving off?, all have great ideas and based on their tendencies, you'll find lots of ideas.

      17 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        Did anyone check the old av. Jean Moulin location since Saint Honoré opened? It might well still be pretty awesome.

        In my experience, you don't go to Villaret for food, but for its starred-restaurant wine list with all the Coche-Durys and the Meursaults and the like.

        Thing are changing Chez l'Ami Jean. Jégo dropped the prixfixe. Then, he reintroduced one at lunch because even he needs to have prixfixe at lunch. But basically, he's focusing on what he likes and does best, which is awesome news. I had an series of unreasonable successive meals there lately, and everything was between great and wonderful (which even this CAJ fan will recognize was not always the case in past experience). The menu changes twice a day, and focuses on exceptional ingredients. Day before yesterday, as I wrote somewhere else, I went after a very bad meal somewhere else, kitchen was closed, but Jégo fixed us a cold snack that was awesome, including a simple tomato he had just received from le Lot. He's experimenting with the aging of the Wagyu beef these days. So far, on month gave good results but we are all expecting that six week aged cote de boeuf. The thick turbot, the sweetbread, the desserts -- it's all stuff most starred restaurants can't really keep up with. And the place is packed, and packed, and packed. If I had two and a half day, I would probably do CAJ five times these days. Maybe stop for Le CInq or Ledoyen.

        But hey, your whole list is nice, and Dr. T is right about reading further to make up your mind. There is little more we can say that we haven't said about those places already.

        Be mindful of opening days and time. Paris is tricky for that. Don't assume anything.

        1. re: souphie

          "Did anyone check the old av. Jean Moulin location since Saint Honoré opened? It might well still be pretty awesome."

          Lets go Soup, it's atop my list.

          1. re: John Talbott

            Deal. I have to go to CAJ for the hundredth time this week, but then I'm free and it's two tramways stops away from my place.

            1. re: souphie

              You have to go, poor baby. Life is sweet for you and you deserve it. Is Stephane still doing the flaming foie gras football?

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Oh yes.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  What is this flaming foie gras football? My husband wants to have foie gras when we are in Paris but most places I have read do it like a pate or terrine. He is looking for the real deal, just cooked/seared as a main meal. Any idea what restaurants do that in Paris?

                  1. re: parisdreamer

                    This is the bomb, IMHO. Whole foie roasted and then flamed in a liqueur and sugar syrup liquid, that was my best dish last year, well second best, after Souphie's duck. Three of us shared it and was one amazingly thick perfect slice for each.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      That sounds wonderful (for my husband) but a huge portion. Since I am not a big fan of it sounds much too big for just him. Any other places do smaller foie gras?

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Where did you eat the foie gras and the Soupie's duck? Is that an inside joke, that you can only get it at her home? and what is CAJ? Also, I heard callers to Anthony Bourdain yesterday tell him that since he recommended Le Chateaubrian, it has gone down hill. And one of their dishes was beets and clams.
                        Sorry for all the questions.

                        1. re: nfmasek

                          “Where did you eat the foie gras and the Soupie's duck? Is that an inside joke, that you can only get it at her home? and what is CAJ?”

                          Not an inside joke. It really happened. What didn't happen was Souphie's sex change. He was still a he the last time I saw him, mais bon...
                          CAJ chez L'ami Jean.

                          1. re: nfmasek

                            "Also, I heard callers to Anthony Bourdain yesterday tell him that since he recommended Le Chateaubrian, it has gone down hill. And one of their dishes was beets and clams" - I would put that down to the callers inexperience in eating at this type of restaurant. Le Chateaubriand has its ups and downs as it pushes boundaries, but more often than not it is too far out of the mainstream for the diner, the diner then says it isn't a good restaurant.

                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Hi - Just wanted to say that when Delucacheesemonger describes the foie gras as the size of a football he is not exaggerating. I went last year and it was literally the size of a football. Please do not share this amongst two people. Of course the first few bites were delicious but we tried to finish it, you can imagine how we felt afterwards. I think it was about 80 euros at CLAJ. We have not been able to eat or look at foie gras the same as before this experience because we OD'd on it. Get it if you are going with a large group.

                      3. re: souphie

                        "I have to go to CAJ for the hundredth time this week, but then I'm free and it's two tramways stops away from my place."

                        And it has aircon !

                        1. re: Parigi

                          Both do, yes.

                    2. re: souphie

                      So Souphie- how does the price of a dinner at CAJ pan out now? We have done the price fixed each time- i beleive it was about 35E for dinner and was a totally amazing meal and bargain. Is the current menu comprable in terms of price? Im sure it is in terms of taste

                      1. re: alyssabrooke

                        Well, you either take the tasting menu, and it's 60€, or some exciting ALC items such as cote de boeuf for 2 (65€), or cote de boeuf Wagyu for two (100€). Mains are in the 30-40€ pp range. Me, I'd say lobster+cote de boeuf +riz au lait is an ideal meal, and that would cost less than 100€pp with a decent wine.

                        There still is a 25€ lunch deal.

                        1. re: souphie

                          thanks!

                  2. you should listen to John Talbott and, more important, plan another trip to Paris soon

                    1. If you like traditional comfort food, I highly recommend Josephine Chez Domonet. I had the most delicious boeuf bourguignon and Duck Confit there last June. I also tried Le Chateaubriand, I posted photos on my blog =) In my opinion, it's very reasonable for what you get but I don't know if it deserves all the hype. My two cents!

                      1. I think you have come up with a better than average list. I was disappointed in La Cordonnerie this past Nov.; my guest was the only French person there that evening and the food seemed tired and uninspired. If you go to l'Ami Jean try to go with Souphie for a sumptious feast otherwise you may be treated like Richard Hesse ( http://www.paris-update.com/fr/index.... ) which was reminiscent of my two visits.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: Laidback

                          Interesting, l have been there many, many times, mostly without Souphie and have always been treated very well. Yes, it is a crowded place and they do want you to flip, but l have never felt pressure from staff or anyone else to vacate my table. In fact, after the bad strikes a few years ago, l walked with a friend 4 miles to the restaurant without a res and got the last 2 for lunch. We stayed past closing and they took us to the bar and poured all sorts of strange drinks for us and treated the two of us like family.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            Yes, I understand that I am one of the very few who were less than enamored with l'Ami Jean, but all I can do is state the way things were the two times I went and was surprised to see a popular critic express something akin to my experiences. The next time, if indeed there is a next time, the only way I will go is with you or Souphie as my guest!

                            1. re: Laidback

                              Cannot turn that down, see you in the spring.

                              1. re: Laidback

                                You can go with me as your guest too, same result ;-)

                                1. re: Laidback

                                  Damn, they beat me to it! What they cannot beat me to, however, is in telling you that Stefan just got a rack of 6-weeks aged Wagyu beef. So, I think I should go now.

                                  1. re: souphie

                                    Did I hit the jackpot or what! DCM, Petit Pois and Souphie. Why don't we do it all together.

                                    1. re: Laidback

                                      Well, if your dinner there is anything like ours in Oct with Souphie & Ptipois and others, it will be great. I'm still thinking about it -- among many other things, wild boar and foie gras; a whole roasted sea bass, deboned and served with a rich sauce of veal stock, with calves foot(!); crispy roasted Basque pig with loads of cepes and girolles; and much more.

                                      But in terms of "hit[ting] the jackpot" -- hmmm, if they are your "guests," it seems that you are all hitting it simultaneously. And the rest of us would like to hear how it goes . . . .

                                    2. re: souphie

                                      Stefane not Stefan, at least in Paris to Souphie
                                      Of course to Laidback

                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        Stéphane if we are to be accurate.

                                        1. re: Ptipois

                                          Sorry, do not know how to put a French keyboard with accent thingies on my computer.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            I know. But I think your keyboard has a p and a h. (nag nag)

                                            1. re: Ptipois

                                              Duh

                                2. re: Laidback

                                  Ooooofff. From our experience, Hesse is writing about or from a different planet. On my most recenet visit, we (son, d-i-l and I) were seated at a comparatively large table in the window. Every waitperson was pleasant, none condescending. I was, sensibly, advised that the paloma sauvage was a game bird and would be, well, er, perhaps a little gamey. I told them that as long as it was not overcooked, I'd be happy. Each of us was delighted with his/her order. We were having such a good time that we paid little attention to other tables clearing around us, and the staff made no effort to speed us up. A super meal and very pleasant evening in all ways.

                                  1. re: Laidback

                                    Richard Hesse also thinks Chez Wadja is a Basque restaurant.

                                  2. What happened? How was your stay?
                                    Did our recommendations suck so badly that you are too embarrassed to let us know?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      What happened? amieroogie probably had a great time but failed to grasp, as do many/most casual posters, that Chowhound, and maybe more particularly Chowhound France, is a community rather than a message board.

                                      1. re: mangeur

                                        You mean the OP thinks we give information like volunteers doing humanitarian work, and the OP is a victim deserving - demanding - our help. I dig.

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          Yup. you got it.

                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            Do you think we could deduct our time spent on Chowhound from our income tax as volunteer work ?

                                            Any jurist out there ? I'm interested ;)

                                            1. re: Rio Yeti

                                              I'm afraid you can't deduct volunteer time, but you can deduct expenses incured while doing charitable work -- travel expenses, meals, etc.-- although the Philistines in the tax office may question whether eating in Paris fits their definition of charitable work.

                                              1. re: dcbbq

                                                " whether eating in Paris fits their definition of charitable work."

                                                Patiently answering posters who do not report back should be.